South by Southwest is nothing — NOTHING, I TELL YOU — without last-minute surprise appearances by megastars. With that in mind, we ask: Is enigmatic R&B superhero Frank Ocean coming to SXSW this year?
We have no earthly idea. But we do have enough clues to make you say “jinkies.”
No. 1: The mysterious RSVP
According to the Reddit detectives on r/FrankOcean almost three weeks ago, a cryptic RSVP page for a March 17 event called “The Pyramids” (like the Ocean song off of “Channel Orange”) at some location called “the Warehouse” appeared out of nowhere. The password for the RSVP was “whiteferrari,” also the name of an Ocean tune.
Redditor u/life-of-pablo wrote that they contacted the original poster of the RSVP page, and that person said they “received it through a connection at three six zero, whom is connected with Frank. The location was ambiguous so I contacted the owner of the closest club (kingdom club) to it asking about a ‘secret event’ on 3/17 asking when doors open. He said 8. I’m still not 100% sure if it’s real but I investigated as far as I could.” Another redditor who claimed ties to music management group Three Six Zero said they asked former associates who denied a SXSW appearance.
Your trust in this depends on how much you trust anonymous redditors. General Internet consensus is that it’s a fake. I RSVPed on this page. Y’know … just in case. The RSVP page has since been taken down.
No. 2: Haikus and Soundclouds
An email from the Pyramids organizers/scammers/shadow cabal to those who RSVPed reportedly requested a haiku and a donation to Amplify Austin (nice) from would-be attendees. In return, they received a link to a Soundcloud file and the time stamp “1:55,” at which point the Soundcloud song says “back of the church.” That is unhelpful.
No. 3: The circumstantial evidence
Ocean released the critically acclaimed album “Blonde” in 2016 (as well as companion piece “Endless”), so a show at SXSW would not be out of the blue, not that he needs to promote it much.
Technically, Ocean IS at SXSW, in the form of a screening of the music video for “Nikes” March 12, 14 and 18 at the South Lamar location of Alamo Drafthouse.
Ocean also dropped a new song, “Chanel,” a few days ago.
One parting thought. We don’t know who is the surprise guest at Fader Fort this year, if anyone. With names like Kanye West and Drake popping in before, the newly intimate fort might be a good showcase for the notoriously private Ocean.
Got more clues? Let us know in the comments.